1949 Prototype Telecaster

Discussion in 'Vintage Tele Discussion Forum (pre-1974)' started by gibson-dog, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. Major Gruber

    Major Gruber Tele-Afflicted

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    Joseph Kayes is a good luthier in London. He talks of another guitar of that type in a museum. I don't think it's that easy to close the case and judge this piece and its weirdness only according to regular known specs of the early Fender guitars. This is odd, but is definitely worth a second look and comparison with others weird early instruments…
     
  2. Charlodius

    Charlodius Tele-Meister

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    I’m not even close to being an expert but as many of you know, I’ve spent an awful lot of time looking at blackguards recently. Every one of them had some amount of shrinking around the walnut plug at the headstock end.
     
  3. stefanhotrod

    stefanhotrod Tele-Meister

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    That’s strange. Afaik Joseph Kayes is well reputated.
     
  4. stefanhotrod

    stefanhotrod Tele-Meister

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    Prototypes...

     
  5. Major Gruber

    Major Gruber Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes, or very early ones. This one is in the blackguard book. It could have been a one pickup esquire before thinking of making a two pickups guitar, the place the neck pickup is isn't the regular place it'll be set later. The 49 of the thread seems to have a lapsteel pickup set à neck place, and the route is clean.
     
  6. Major Gruber

    Major Gruber Tele-Afflicted

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    The walnut place isn't at the regular place on the headstock (but the bar isn't the regular bar either) and it's made of mapple (or at least light colored wood), like some early broadcasters.
     
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  7. Major Gruber

    Major Gruber Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes he is, but he might be right, there's some weird birds in the pre production numbers.
     
  8. chezdeluxe

    chezdeluxe Poster Extraordinaire

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    There were no truss rods in the early Fenders until Don Randall convinced Leo it was necessary.

    That neck looks like a modern neck with a truss rod adjustment at the nut that has been faked with a maple plug.

    Some of the parts may be old. I think it is a mongrel dog's breakfast partscaster.
     
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  9. chomps

    chomps TDPRI Member

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    This guitar is one of three things: 1) A "modern" non-Fender guitar with some old 1950 Broadcaster/Nocaster parts, 2) A prototype forgery meant to cash in on the demand for the for historic guitars, or 3) A real 1950 (not 1949) prototype that was modified over the years. Let's briefly look at each possibility:
    1) Modern with old parts. The theory here is that someone had some real 1950/51 Broadcaster/Nocaster parts and decided to craft a lefty guitar for their own use. This is a viable theory except for several major flaws: A) The "newly crafted" body is the same material (2 layer pine), same thickness (about 1.5"), same color (black with white guard), and has the same body wiring route (including a lack of truss rod adjustment gap, and a hole drilled from the neck pocket to the bridge pup cavity) as the black prototypes and the first Broadcasters (see Esquire 0043 in Nacho's book). These exact specs are beyond coincidence. While the neck is weird, it also shows several signs of possible 1950 Fender traits including a crudely added truss rod (with maple plug) to a non-truss rod neck and rightly tuners (with signs of several versions on and off). The 12th fret dot spacing is off from standard, but dot spacing was still in flux on the prototypes. As previously stated, it is impossible for a newly crafted body to match a prototype body in every way, unless its a...
    2) A prototype forgery. Prior to Richard Smith's book (2003) and Nacho Banos Blackguard book (2005) the information was unavailable to produce a convincing forgery. Since then, it would be possible, as they did such a good job documenting things. It would be even more convincing if you added real 1950 parts. But why would you cut the bridge plate (later rewelded - as noted in a previous FB post on this guitar) and route the body for another bridge pup, then restore it? In addition, the neck in this guitar is so bizarre that it would be illogical to produce it as a forgery. Therefore, I think we can eliminate a forgery from contention.
    3) A real prototype with some modifications. Let's start with the neck. Everyone knows Leo wanted to make necks with no truss rods. Several documented early guitars show this. But by late 1950, he conceded an adjustable truss rod was needed. In the summer of 1950, it was possible they tried a non-adjustable rod (e.g. Martin acoustics used non-adjustable metal rods). It is well known that early Broadcasters/Nocasters used maple truss rod plugs and walnut skunk stripes. This could haven been a one-off crude effort at adding a truss rod. Regarding the body and its hardware, it matches summer 1950 two pickup Esquire prototypes in every respect. Note that this type of switch was in use in 1950 (see 0280) and on early Esquires the ground wires were soldered to the switch (wires changed but solder remains). The pups used match 0009 exactly. Regarding the serial number, it is "late" compared to most known prototypes, but Nacho documents a 1950 Broadcaster with number 0729, so they must have produced at least that many in 1950 which were randomly selected.
    My theory on the origin is as follows: In the summer of 1950, some Fender employee tried to make a lefty two pickup Esquire for himself, a friend, or as an experiment. Cutting the wood would have been simple enough, but since the tooling was made for right handed guitars, a right handed bridge plate and bridge pup were used (note 1952 lefty Telecaster #1844 Nacho's book uses a right handle bridge plate). Righty tuners were also used (later replaced). The guitar featured the "standard" prototype black paint job, with white guard. While still in the factory in the summer of 1950, the word came down to try adding a metal truss rod. This guitar got an early attempt with a non-adjustable rod. The guitar made it out of the factory and into the real world. Later, probably in the 70s, the original bridge pup was removed and the bridge plate was cut and the body routed to allow another pup (humbucker?). The neck was probably refinished and re-fretted at some point. One day, the one woke up to the fact that this wa
     
  10. chomps

    chomps TDPRI Member

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    Continuing my thought (accidentally posted): One day, the owner woke up to the fact that this was a valuable old Fender and had someone reweld the bridge plate and reinstalled the original bridge pup. At that time a new Fender waterslide was added. This is just a theory, but this guitar should be given serious consideration by the experts.
     
  11. chezdeluxe

    chezdeluxe Poster Extraordinaire

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    I agree that everything about the body suggests a real 1.5'' pine sandwich esquire with the long wiring hole drilled through from the neck cavity all the way to the bridge pickup cavity.

    There were lefthanded folks around in 1950 so the idea that a lefthanded guitar was made for an employee or a friend or on special order is not silly.

    I just don't like the idea that this is the only known example of a 1950 neck with a non adjustable truss rod. I think the neck is a modern lefthanded neck (with a very non Fender headstock shape) that has been played with.
     
  12. chomps

    chomps TDPRI Member

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    I agree the neck is suspect. With that said, I have read (I forget where - probably Smith or Nacho) that most prototypes were destroyed. So a non-adjustable truss rod experiment isn’t out of the question.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  13. Tedzo

    Tedzo Tele-Meister

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  14. muscmp

    muscmp Tele-Afflicted

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    Too many screws on the pick guard...a sure tip off to funny business. Neck looks like a repro....avoid.



    that's what another friend and i told him.
    thanks,

    play music!
     
  15. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

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    Waving the BS flag on this one. It might be one of the oldest partscaster in history, but I don't think this was a Fender prototype. That one in the museum does not share the same look and some of the parts look wrong as well....the high serial number on the bridge, control assembly shape and placement, dual pickups. Just doubt the claims too much.
     
  16. Charlodius

    Charlodius Tele-Meister

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    Can anyone speak to the dot spacing on the 12th fret? It looks wider than 1”, but not as wide as the snakehead. Was there a time early on that the spacing was consistent with this spacing?
     
  17. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

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    This. And well said!
     
  18. mrmousey

    mrmousey Tele-Meister

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    You gotta be kiddin' me !!!!!
    A lefty prototype .........
    Yeah, that makes perfect sense
     
  19. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

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    The two things that bother me more than anything else about the guitar in question are:
    (1) the neck. It's just not right. I've never seen a neck like that on a Broadcaster prototype or a Telecaster
    (2) that it's a lefty. Sure, employees sometimes could make things for themselves, but if one did, it's not a prototype.

    As others have stated, that red Broadcaster prototype is pine, and the neck doesn't have a truss rod. It's REALLY light, and it's been repainted numerous times. Red is the latest color on it. The neck pickup is a lap steel pickup, I believe. Note the non-Tele-neck-pickup routing. Here I am holding it at Songbirds.

    IMG_0121.JPG

    Here's a black Esquire. I can't recall the date, but I think it's 1950. Pine body. Notice how crude the pickguard looks, and check out the rotary switch.
    IMG_0123.JPG
    IMG_0124.JPG
     
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  20. gibson-dog

    gibson-dog TDPRI Member

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    Joe knows what he,s talking about when it comes to vintage fender,s ,he own,s 3 blackguards ,and restored many broadcaster,s included .but as he states he not sure on this guitar so he has ask the owner to return for second visit for another look at the guitar
     
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